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Old 04-03-2014, 12:10 PM
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RedPanda RedPanda is offline
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Originally Posted by copperhead View Post
This is the kind of stuff I was referring to. If the beginning is struggle (and I'm sure there are lots of people to whom it is and has been), then how to work through the difficulties without anyone getting hurt. Not being an asshole is a good answer to this, I suppose. But it's still kind of abstract. And what if the people involved have very different ideas about what being an asshole means?
First and foremost, STOP COMING DOWN SO HARD ON YOURSELF. Everyone makes glorious fools of themselves when they are trying something new. With time and experience you will learn more about your definition of "asshole" as well as what other people think of "assholes". Don't worry about it.

When two people open up their relationship to include others, it's always a risk. Who decides how difficult it can be before it's time to take a step back? And why? Can the reason be fear, respect, love, prior agreements, jealousy, something else? What are good reasons to take a step back and what are the bad ones? How do you know if you are making the right call pursuing poly or taking that step back to monogamy (even if just for now).
Again, experience will teach you these things. It sounds like you were in a case of the blind leading the blind, so of course shit is going to spiral out of control. Flying airplanes is much the same way. Almost any joker can get a plane off the ground. Landing safely, however, is another question altogether. With time and experience you will learn what you need and can accommodate. When you are with partners who are more experienced, they will be more familiar with their own needs.

Although I don't mean this thread to be about myself, it's the only thing I can use as an example. I was in a relationship that was poly in theory from the beginning and we both knew the transition would be a big deal for me. Neither of us knew how hard it would be. I felt like calling it off, but at the same time I felt I had no right to do that so soon because I had said that I'm willing to try. But then I realised that I'd have even less right to say anything later when things would have progressed further. Salamander seemed torn between not wanting to hurt me and wanting to see where this new relationship would go. And Sunflower was caught in the situation not realising that poly was so new to me and that things would be this difficult. (And let's keep the rest of the story in other threads, because it really has nothing to do with this question.)
And now you know! Learning has happened. You will be better prepared next time.

The end result was that I asked for more time, Salamander told Sunflower that he'd like to try again later and Sunflower said she'd had enough. To me it seemed like after this no-one was feeling too bad and before it I surely was. We were willing to try poly again later after we'd discussed stuff we'd learned from the experience.
Poly definitely gives you the flexibility to keep trying and keep people in your life, even if the circumstances change.

But I still don't know if we (I) handled the situation in the best possible way. Is there something I could learn from it and bring with me to another relationship? What are the guidelines to deciding? I feel like I can only talk for myself and watch for my own boundaries in the end. But where do you (yes You) draw the line between respecting your own boundaries and other peoples rights? When do You decide you've been hurt enough and it's time to stop? How do you react if someone asks/tells you to stop, because what you are doing is hurting them?
1) There is no best-possible-way. Anyone who says there's only one way, or even a best way, probably doesn't know what they are talking about. Sure, there are many wrong ways, but that doesn't mean there is only one good way.

2) I generally end a relationship when I realize that there is a fundamental incompatibility. When I realize that they have a trait or a need that will always cause harm. Or vice-versa - if I have a need that is fundamentally incompatible with what they need. My first poly relationship wanted me to be exclusive to her and she refused to negotiate or talk about it, so I ended the relationship. She was devastated and convinced all her friends that I was evil and manipulative. After that there was no looking back.
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